Over the course of its history, Lifetime has been traded around among a circle of corporate media-giant parents, but the cable channel's programming focus has stayed mostly consistent throughout. Originating in 1984 as a merger between the women-oriented Daytime and Cable Health networks, Lifetime was intended from the beginning to target female audiences. Although that goal is less explicit now, the channel's programming philosophy remains essentially the same.
In the mid-1980s, Lifetime attempted to capitalize on the talk show boom, airing talk and interviews shows hosted by Regis Philbin and sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer. The channel also aired reruns of network comedy and drama series that had established female audiences.
Through the 90s, Lifetime left doubt about its target demographic, as the channel adopted the tag line "Television for Women." That branding continued until 2006, when the network dropped the tag line and worked to broaden its audience to include more men and young people.
Lifetime is now a subsidiary of A&E, and like A&E's other cable channels, Lifetime has incorporated reality shows such as "Dance Moms" into its schedule. The channel also still airs syndicated reruns and original dramatic series like "Devious Maids" and "Witches of East End." Lifetime original movies, famous for their women's-issues-related themes and melodrama, also continue to be a staple of the schedule.